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Good Knight! UCF gets bid

Central Florida earned its first trip to the NCAA Tournament by beating Stetson 70-67 Saturday in the championship game of the Trans America Athletic Conference tournament.

UCF was the second team to qualify, joining Penn of the Ivy League in the 64-team field.

The Knights have their first winning season since moving to Division I in 1984. As a member of Division II, the Knights made six post-season appearances between 1975 and 1982, advancing to the Final Four in 1978.

"Our guys have made the big plays late in the game all year long. I'm very proud of them because they find a way," first-year UCF coach Kirk Speraw said. "Going to the NCAAs is a great reward and a great opportunity."

The Knights (21-8, 14-5) led early in the second half, but Bryant Conner gave Stetson (14-15, 11-8) the lead, 57-56, on a short jumper with 6:59 left to cap a 20-8 run. Stetson stretched its lead to four points three times, but four missed free throws hurt the Hatters.

UCF was 8-of-9 from the line in the last 3:02.

Victor Saxton scored 17 points for Central Florida and was named tournament MVP. Patrick Sams led Stetson with 17.